While we hope and in some cases pray for rain, there may be a very dire consequence of the recent Mississippi flooding. While predictions of large rises in Baton Rouge and New Orleans never materialized at the end of May, the Gulf of Mexico is at danger of seeing the largest "dead-zone" ever. These zones are typically caused when freshwater from the Atchafalaya and the Mississippi end up in the Gulf. That water, full of nutrients, creates algae that gobbles up the oxygen that fish and shrimp need to survive. If they can't find it, they'll move elsewhere or die.
There's more water pouring into the Gulf because of the flooding that began from the spring storms which raced across the middle of the country. By some estimates, the runoff from the Mighty Miss could result in a dead zone the size of Lake Erie. The biggest contributors to the growth of the algae are nitrates and phosphates in the water. A lot of this year's Mississippi River flooding is coming from farming communities in Missouri and Iowa. Some of the river runoff is being contained before the water gets to the Gulf, but not enough of it . Its possible that this year's dead zone may extend closer to Texas and deeper into the Gulf than in years past.
Of course, the Gulf is still trying to come back from last year's massive oil spill from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. This dead zone will surely complicate that recovery.